How Do I Know If I’m Experiencing Addiction To Private Chat Rooms?

Medically reviewed by Corey Pitts, MA, LCMHC, LCAS, CCS
Updated May 14, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

When some people think of addiction, they may think of drugs, alcohol, gambling, or sex. While these are indeed common forms of addiction, the internet has led to new forms of addiction, including addiction to chat rooms. Some people can enjoy these types of online interactions with no problem, but they can be addictive. Some people find themselves using chat rooms more than they intended when they started using them.

Below, we’ll discuss chat rooms, the potential for addiction, and ways to determine if you’re experiencing an addiction to chat rooms.  

CaptGetty/Vadym Pastukhion
Addiction can be powerful

Many people are aware that they might have a problem with how much time and energy they are investing in online chat rooms. Maybe you spend a lot of time thinking about chatting online. Perhaps someone has told you that you spend too much time in chat rooms online. You might find yourself missing out on important areas of your life because you are too busy chatting. 

If any of these things resonate with you, then you might consider seeking help for an addiction to chat rooms. 

Why chats can be dangerous

Certain types of online rooms charge customers money to allow them to speak to someone. In these chats, many things can occur between you and the person that you’re chatting with. You might get addicted to chatting with a beautiful online person as a result of feelings of loneliness and a desire for connection with someone else. Many people wind up spending exorbitant sums of money on chat rooms. Addiction has the potential to cause significant financial strain, and it could start negatively affecting your relationships as well.

Many people who have experienced addiction to online chat rooms have been able to get help by reaching out to a mental health professional. It’s important to understand that you are not alone and that this is something that impacts the lives of many people. If you’re still trying to figure out if you’re addicted to chat rooms, then there are several things that you might consider.

Figuring out if you’re addicted to chat rooms

One way to figure out if you are addicted may be to stop chatting for a while to see if you experience emotional changes. Addictions can lead a person to experience distress if they stop engaging in an addictive behavior. If you experience intrusive thoughts, distress, or irritability when not using chat rooms, you may be experiencing an addiction.

Keeping track of how often you are online and how much time you spend in an online chat room may be another way to discover whether you are addicted. You might open a spreadsheet and type in the date and time when you enter and leave a chat room. You can also use a smartphone to log it right into your calendar or another planning app. If you notice a trend or see that you’re spending much more time than you’d like to spend in chat rooms, you may have an addiction to chat rooms.

Determine the why

Once you see that you may be spending too much time in chat rooms, it may help to consider why you are going there in the first place. For example, some people may use chat rooms when they experience loneliness or boredom. Perhaps these rooms make you feel better about yourself, or maybe you tend to use chatrooms when using alcohol or other substances. 

If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources. Support is available 24/7.


Some people who experience an addiction have triggers, which are certain circumstances that make them want to return to a specific behavior. It may help to write down what you’re feeling when you get the urge to use a chat room. 

Brain chemistry

Another possible cause of addiction to chat rooms is brain chemistry. The mind can get hooked on chemicals called neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which is released when you perform certain tasks. Some of these are part of the body’s reward system that helps it to identify beneficial activities. When your body associates an activity with dopamine, you might forget that those feelings of reward can come from other sources. Even though these chemicals are natural, you can get hooked on them. One of the main reasons that addiction can be so harmful is that it can gradually make it harder for you to feel happy without the source of the addiction.

Sexual desires

Getty/Luis Alvarez

Some people become addicted to online chat rooms as a result of having unfulfilled sexual desires. You might not have a significant other at this time, and this might lead you to reach out to people in the chat rooms. This can lead to several different types of chat that could cause you to become addicted. Webcam chat rooms can be particularly problematic in terms of the potential for addiction. 

If you are experiencing loneliness or if you don’t have a partner at this time, then the idea of paying to connect with someone in a chat room might sound appealing. However, this can quickly become both expensive and addictive. A dependence on chatting with someone via webcam could cost you a significant amount of money. 

This isn’t the only type of online chat room that can cause people to become sexually addicted. Even standard chat rooms can be addictive. People can get addicted to having cybersex with others based on a desire to explore their fantasies. Sometimes, this becomes a problem that can cause them to lose focus on other aspects of their life that they would normally find enjoyable.

Maybe it’s a technology addiction

Part of what you are experiencing may be technology addiction. The term technology addiction isn’t in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is used to diagnose psychological and emotional disorders, but it is similar to some more recognized and accepted disorders like behavioral addictions.

Behavioral addiction is the term used for the process outlined above, during which a person becomes addicted to the reward chemicals that their brain associates with a specific activity. These can include gambling and various other forms of online activity. 

What can I do if I am addicted to chat rooms online?

After you discover any potential triggers, you may be able to find other ways to satisfy your cravings for the feelings that you associate with those triggers. You may find that the you don’t need the addictive behavior in order to feel good.

Also, some addictions may develop as coping mechanisms. This could be the case for online chat rooms and the “chat with strangers” phenomenon, which often involves talking to people online about your problems. While there is nothing wrong with seeking support through online chat rooms, it may become addicting and leave you feeling worse. If you are upset and in need of support, you might consider calling a friend or family and talking to them instead. This may give you another way to process your feelings outside of the chat room.

Also, it may also be helpful to find a healthy alternative, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation. These and other activities may be useful because they can lead to the release of endorphins, one of the body’s “feel-good chemicals.”

It may take time to break away from chat rooms, but you may soon begin to feel more positive and productive with how you are spending your time. It may be a good time to consider picking up a new hobby that you have been putting off or agreeing to meet with a friend. This may help you to feel better about yourself so that you can more comfortably seek out connections with others in real life.

Talk to a professional about potential addiction

Addiction can be powerful


If you think you may be addicted to chat rooms, you may benefit from speaking with a licensed therapist. If you feel hesitant to discuss your concerns with a therapist in person, you might consider online therapy.

With online therapy, you can communicate with a licensed therapist in a way that’s most comfortable for you—whether by audio, video, or live chat. Online therapy at BetterHelp also allows you to contact your therapist at any time through in-app messaging, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can. This may be especially helpful if you have questions, concerns, or urges to use chat rooms in between sessions.

Studies have shown that those living with behavioral addictions have significantly benefitted from online therapy. A study published in Clinical Psychology Review found that online therapy produced helpful behavioral changes in those experiencing addictions. Researchers also found that the effects were sustained in the long term. These findings are in line with a wide range of research proving the efficacy of online therapy.

Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors by people experiencing addiction.

Counselor reviews

“Julissa is my lifeline to sobriety. I always know that she is there to assist me. She’s honest and to the point. She helps me to see other aspects of my behavior that I either could not see or refuse to see. Thank you, Julissa!”

“Brenda has been a lifeline to me in a very difficult time. In one month, she has helped support me through quitting alcohol, partaking in self-care, and helping me through the process of a breakup. She asks the questions that your friends won’t, a real chance to understand what’s happening to you as well as being able to evaluate it healthily. Brenda also gave me very good practical advice on how to manage my anxiety and how to handle those first few days of a breakup, which can feel impossible. I’ve loved that I can message her whenever I get those awful feelings, and she usually responds pretty quickly. You can also schedule weekly phone sessions, which have also been helpful some weeks when I’ve really been struggling.”


If you think you may be addicted to chat rooms, know that you are not alone. Many people start using chat rooms and end up questioning whether their usage has become excessive. It may help to speak with a licensed therapist, whether in person or online. With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a therapist who has experience helping people overcome addiction to chat rooms or technology addiction. Take the first step toward freedom from addiction and contact BetterHelp today.
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